Lightroom: Applying Auto Tone to a batch of photos loses subsequent develop settings

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LEGEND ,
Oct 24, 2016 Oct 24, 2016

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When you apply Auto Tone to a large batch of photos, LR does not consistently update all the photos, and subsequent batch changes to the photos’ develop settings can get lost.  This happens when using any of the mechanisms for batch changes: Photo > Develop Settings > Paste Settings, Auto Sync, Quick Develop > Saved Preset, or via the SDK.

This problem has existed for many years (see all the reports merged below), at least since LR 5, and probably at least since LR 4.

Apparently, when you apply Auto Tone to a batch of photos, internally LR just sets a flag on each photo, deferring the actual computation of the Auto Tone until later. It won’t actually compute the Auto Tone develop settings until the photo’s thumbnail becomes visible in Library or you edit the photo.  But any other develop settings you’ve applied to the photo in the meantime will get silently overwritten by the deferred Auto Tone.

To reproduce the problem: 

1. In Develop, define a develop preset “Test Dark” with only Basic Tone: Exposure checked, with Exposure = -5.00.  

2. In Library grid view, select at least a couple hundred photos.

3. Do Quick Develop > Reset All.  Scroll through all the thumbnails to make sure the reset completes.

4. Do Quick Develop > Auto Tone (with all the thumbnails still selected).

5. Wait a minute or more (you don’t have to wait, but this shows the bug is not timing dependent).

6.  Do Quick Develop > Saved Preset > Test Dark to apply the preset to all the photos.

7. Scroll through the thumbnails and wait for the three white dots in the upper-right corner of each to go away, indicating that the the deferred Auto Tone is finally being applied.  Notice that only some of them are correctly rendered as auto-toned followed by Test Dark (i.e. they are near black).    

In general, if a thumbnail was off-screen at step 6 when the preset Test Dark was applied, then the Auto Tone will eventually take effect, but the exposure setting of Test Dark will be lost. Further, the develop history will be inconsistent, showing Test Dark as being applied after the Auto Tone, but the exposure slider showing the Auto Tone setting, not the Test Dark settings of -5.00:

RackMultipart2016102486746103c-cc2fc771-f0bf-4f95-80be-2918c17d83f7-1922543324.png

Workarounds:

Three workarounds:

- In LR 7.3.1 and later, apply Auto to the batch of photos using a preset, e.g. the built-in preset Classic - General > Auto Settings.

- After applying the batch Auto Tone, scroll through Library grid view and wait until the Auto Tone is actually applied before applying another preset or batch develop setting.

- With all the photos in the batch selected, do Library > Previews > Build Standard-Sized Previews and wait for the progress bar to indicate completion.

A related problem:

A similar problem occurs when synchronized Lens Profile Corrections to many photos, and the workaround is the same.  See https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/lightroom-sdk-photo-getdevelopsettings-return...
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49 Comments
Explorer ,
Aug 17, 2017 Aug 17, 2017

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I'm not sure that's exactly the problem John. Given that auto tone needs to access the other sliders in the top develop pane, any other presets that also utilise these sliders are working in competition with auto tone until auto tone has finished. As your custom presets are simply "apply this number here", they should be able to be applied in the background but auto tone needs to apply some processing to each individual image - thus taking some time and, given Adobe, it has to be in the foreground because Adobe never got the memo about multitasking (see Photoshop - which keeps jumping to the foreground as I try to type this.)

This is why I have suggested, multiple times, that the solution to this is to provide an "Auto Exposure" option that just uses the exposure slider. No competition...

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Explorer ,
Aug 22, 2017 Aug 22, 2017

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Here's a video that perfectly illustrates the problem. All shots have been imported with auto tone applied and then, after giving LR some time to process, I apply my own "Nikon Property" preset that spreads the sliders to pull as much DR from my D750 as possible. What you're watching here is me moving from shot to shot in the develop module and you can see that my preset has been applied (because it's just numbers - requires no processing) but that, once each image is brought into focus where it can be processed, auto tone resets the sliders to where it wants them to be.  If we had auto exposure, there wouldn't be this conflict.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 29, 2017 Aug 29, 2017

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Explorer ,
Aug 29, 2017 Aug 29, 2017

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Thanks John. Just trying to point out that, aside from the incredible S-L-O-W-N-E-S-S of LR, I don't think this is a bug so much as a clash of functions. I've worked in testing and I wouldn't report this as a bug. What I see are two presets both trying to access the same sliders; one wins, one loses. The only current workaround is to ensure that Auto Tone is 100% done with its job before applying your own preset. That works every time and is, I believe, why nobody at Adobe is treating it as a bug. Give it time, allow one preset to finish before setting the other and everything performs as expected. But that's not the real world.

To address this, they could radically speed up the app (for which we'd all be eternally grateful) and/or offer an Auto Exposure option that simply got the hell away from our sliders, which would solve it instantly IMHO.

Of course, this is Adobe. The third option, and the one they seem to have chosen to take, is to do nothing and keep taking our money.

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New Here ,
Dec 17, 2017 Dec 17, 2017

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I think I had not this problem in Lightroom 7.0.

Here is the workflow:
1. Select all images and use auto develop (command+u).
2. I had the feeling dynamik is to high (18) on auto so I develop one image and set dynamic to (12).
3. I copy my develop settings (only dynamic and process version) to Clipboard.
4. I select a range or all images and paste my develop settings.

My expectation is that all images have now the dynamic 12 but it's hit and miss, sometimes all range gets 12 (when selection is small) or only the focused selected image gets 12.

I cannot select 500 images and apply one by one dynamic 12.

It seems Lightroom 7.1 is not well tested! This is a bug!

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LEGEND ,
Dec 17, 2017 Dec 17, 2017

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For workarounds, see the first post in this topic.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 16, 2018 Feb 16, 2018

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This has been happening for multiple versions and I can't seem to figure out what is causing it.
Basic Scenario:
Import 500 pics from a night football game (shot using flash).
ALL selected.
Hit AUTO in the library view.
Go to Develop. Turn on Auto Sync.
Set noise reduction. (No Issues)
Set sharpening. (No Issues)
Set saturation on team color. (No Issues)

This is where it begins...
Set the Shadows to 10.
Set contrast to 0. (Just started with the new auto alg)

Then I set a filter to select specific pictures rated with stars.
When I go through to crop and further edit, many do not have the shadows or contrast updated to the value I set previously.

I turn on the auto sync. Now it's just for the 30-50 pictures I gave a rating.
Set the contrast and shadow again. (the processing bar shows complete)
move to the next image and it is again NOT the value set just moments before.

I have tried doing a manual sync by just selecting those two elements.

Same thing.

LR is indicating that it has updated, but it really hasn't.

I searched the threads and found just 1 topic on this from 5 years ago. Few comments and no resolution.

Anyone familiar with this? Have a solution?

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LEGEND ,
Feb 16, 2018 Feb 16, 2018

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See the first post in this topic for workarounds to this long-standing bug.

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New Here ,
Mar 12, 2018 Mar 12, 2018

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Workflow: select bunch of photos, apply Auto settings on all of them. Then I change, for instance, Contrast and Shadows on first photo and try to Sync these settings to all others. It's not working, their settings for Contrast and Shadows stay the same.

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New Here ,
Mar 12, 2018 Mar 12, 2018

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My steps:
1. select 1200 photos
2. Ctrl U - Auto Settings
3. select only first photo
4. change contrast and shadows
5. select all (viewing first photo with changed contrast and shadows)
6. Sync - checked only contrast and shadows

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LEGEND ,
Mar 12, 2018 Mar 12, 2018

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See the first post in this topic for workarounds.

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New Here ,
Apr 28, 2018 Apr 28, 2018

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Dear all,

the new Auto-Settings have been greatly improved in quality, but they do prevent syncing development setting "Shadows" correctly after application.

I have a reproducable bug here in my newly updated LR CC classic 7.31 on PC.

Procedure:
- Import 139 images (*.CR2) into a new Folder in a new catalogue.
- Apply Auto Settings to all of them (right-click and context menu)
- Set "Shadows" to Zero again for the first Image
- Select ALL images in the folder
- Sync development setting "Shadows" to ALL images in the folder.

Result:
The development setting Zero for "Shadows" has been applied only to the first 10-20 images of the folder and to the last 10-20 and to some in between.
But more then 50% of the 139 images in the folder remain untouched by the sync.

This problem occurrs only after Auto-Settings have been applied to the images in the folder. otherwise the sync of development settings works fine and applies to ALL selected images.

The described problem was observed after the update to 7.31, but I am not sure, whether it came with this update or with an earlier one.

A re-installation of LR CC classic did not solve the issue.

Whether other development settings than "Shadows" are concerned also has not been tested so far.

Dear Adobe quality team, could you please have a look into this?



Kind regards,
Hans



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LEGEND ,
Apr 28, 2018 Apr 28, 2018

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This is a very old bug, dating back to at least LR 4, that Adobe has not yet chosen to fix. Now that Auto works much better, more people are noticing the bug. See the first post in this topic for straightforward but tedious workarounds.

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New Here ,
Apr 29, 2018 Apr 29, 2018

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Hi John, many thanks for your help. The workaround with generating standard previews works also for me.

rgds, Hans


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LEGEND ,
May 05, 2018 May 05, 2018

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With LR 7.3.1, the bug no longer occurs when you apply Auto using a preset, e.g. the built-in preset Classic - General > Auto Settings.  

But the bug does still occur when you apply Auto using the Auto button in Quick Develop, the Library menu command Photo > Develop Settings > Auto Settings, or Develop's Auto Sync.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 29, 2018 Aug 29, 2018

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Thanks to John R. Ellis, who told me about this bug in the adobe forum. Same problem here, Processing a bunch of pictures with auto and trying to sync settings afterwards leads to confusing results. It works for some pictures of my selection but fails for the bigger rest..

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LEGEND ,
Sep 28, 2018 Sep 28, 2018

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In LR 7.5, the bug again occurs when you apply Auto using a preset. It still occurs in the other contexts two: Quick Develop > Auto, Photo > Develop Settings > Auto Settings, Develop's Auto Sync, presets applied during Import.

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Explorer ,
Sep 30, 2018 Sep 30, 2018

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1. Copy brightness = 0 and exposure = 0 settings.
2. Select more than 1000 images.
3. Paste the settings.
4. Check all images.

Should be: All images must have brightness = 0 and exposure = 0.

Actual result: Not all images will have brightness = 0 and exposure = 0. Even if you paste settings two times some images won't have brightness = 0 and exposure = 0.

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Explorer ,
Sep 30, 2018 Sep 30, 2018

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I applied Auto to all pictures. Then I want to clear brightness and exposure because Auto values are awful for them. And Paste applies each time only to about 200 random pictures (I select all 1000).

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Explorer ,
Sep 30, 2018 Sep 30, 2018

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Why do you wait 2 years before you start to work on an issue? Is Adobe corporation still alive? Or you bankrupted possibly? What else reason can be for not fixing serious issues in your software for years?

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LEGEND ,
Sep 30, 2018 Sep 30, 2018

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As a workaround to this long-standing bug, immediately after applying Auto, select all the photos and do the menu command Library > Previews > Build Standard-Size Previews.

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Explorer ,
Sep 30, 2018 Sep 30, 2018

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Thanks! But it's better to spend time on fixing issues than on searching for workarounds...

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LEGEND ,
Sep 30, 2018 Sep 30, 2018

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I agree. (I don’t work for Adobe.)

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Advocate ,
Oct 01, 2018 Oct 01, 2018

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LATEST
Ah, that is why I've never seen this. After Import I select the batch of images and apply Auto +Sharpen+Clarity using Quick Develop, but I always then render the previews while the batch is still selected, before deciding whether to do anything else.

Bob Frost

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